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Wilderness Walk: Happy Birthday Spurg Edition

Now he doesn't look twenty-six instead of not-looking twenty-five.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. I’m not going to talk about either of the games the Wild played this weekend. If you missed out, there are recaps, and really, you didn’t miss much. Instead I thought we’d focus this walk on something lovely: today is Jared Spurgeon’s twenty-sixth birthday. Happy Birthday Spurg!

I was going to write a poem about how great Jared Spurgeon is, but then I sat down to write and remembered that a) rhyming is hard, b) not rhyming in a convincing manner is harder, c) this is a hockey blog, and d) writing a poem would be a terrible idea. But that’s the kind of greatness we’re talking about here: Jared Spurgeon is great enough to make me want to write poetry.

Fortunately, common sense won out, and this is strictly a prose piece. I’m not a numbers person, but they all support the idea that Jared Spurgeon is a phenomenal defenseman. He’s also a great story.

Spurgeon was drafted by the Islanders in 2008, in the 6th round. He spent two years in their system, returning both years to play for the Spokane Chiefs including an overage season. The Islanders decided not to sign him. His name was reentered in the draft, but no one picked him.

The Wild invited him to prospect camp, and then to the Traverse City tournament. He impressed and they wound up offering him a contract. The rest is history.

He went to Houston. He was pretty great. He got called up because Mike Yeo told Fletcher he deserved a shot. When he got called up the television announcers thought he was some teenager, not a player.

He played his first NHL game five years ago today, on his twenty-first birthday. The Wild lost three-nothing to the Flames, because of course they did. After that he stuck. And it’s been pretty great. Now this tiny kid who no one wanted is playing on the Wild’s top pair. How amazing is that?

This is one of my absolute favorite narratives in hockey. He’s one of my favorite players to watch. The idea of the Wild trading him occasionally keeps me up all night. The first Wild shirt I ever bought had his name on the back. He’s really fantastic.

So happy birthday Spurg. It sucks that the Wild has been sad lately, but hopefully that won’t ruin turning twenty-six. Hopefully the Wild will win more. Hopefully he’ll still be playing for Minnesota at age twenty-seven. I have a lot of hope right here. Jared Spurgeon went from being an unsigned undersized player to being an incredibly important part of this Wild team — sometimes good things happen.

Today's song is in honor of Jared Spurgeon and the end of Movember. Never gonna be defeated!

Wild News

2 in the box: Scandella and Spurgeon and Part Two This was cute. Watch the birthday boy and his bestie play two truths and a lie.

Wild coughs up three-goal third-period lead, loses to Dallas in OT - Sadness.

Wild blow three-goal lead, lose to Stars in OT - Much sadness.

Wild send Christian Folin to minors, call up Gustav Olofsson - I thought Oloffson looked alright? But he only had two shifts in the third, and played under eight minutes, so clearly he isn't trusted yet. He's already headed back to Iowa.

Off the Trail

NHL Insider: Stars are shooting to the top - BOOOOOOOO hssssssssss

Alain Vigneault wonders who you'd prefer as a son: Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports What a beautiful question and a great way to evaluate players.

Brandon Dubinsky suspended 1 game for cross-check on Sidney Crosby (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports This is a bad joke.

Women's Hockey Notebook: CWHL & Gongshow Gear; 'Stupid questions female hockey players get asked' | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports Now you can buy hats! It's very exciting!

Jujhar Khaira becomes just 3rd ever Punjabi player in NHL history | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports Cool! Diversity!

Evgeni Malkin scores ridiculous spinning goal vs. Oilers (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports It's kinda unfairly pretty.

Patrick Kane claims longest point streak ever by an American player | Gross.